Most everyone would like to get more life into their time.
The challenge for most people is how to do this. In my book “Live Full, Live Well” I share my exact formula for what I call Life Management. This doesn’t mean my fromula is perfect for everyone…even me. What it does mean is that it works very well, but I am always looking for ways to do and be better in every thing I do in my life. In other words, I believe in Debbie Fields (Mrs. Fields Cookies) motto…”Good enough never is.”
One of the things I try to do, is apply the Pareto Principle to the things that I am involved in. If you aren’t familiar with this principle by name, you might know it as the “80/20 rule.” As with anything we want to improve, since things are not usually static, we frequently need to take some time in assessment. In other words, when you are in the forest, you can see the trees that are around you but you might struggle as to where each tree fits into the big picture. You have to take the time to leave the forest to assess things. We all have a tendency in life to spend major time on minor things. There is nothing wrong with this inherently, and many times some of the minor things are enjoyable. From a productivity perspective though, this can become a time trap that robs us of valuable time that is important to the bigger picture.
As a back-drop to this, here are a couple of truisms according to Timothy Ferriss in “The 4-Hour Workweek”:
1. Doing something unimportant well does not make it important.
2. Requiring a lot of time does not make a task important.
As you look at the areas of your life that are your priorities (or should be) like, relationships, health, career, causes, etc., there are certain things you do in those areas that are more effective and add more value than other things. Since time is an abundant, but finite resource, we want to use it the best we can. This is where applying the concept of Pareto can help you readjust what you are doing.
Here’s a question to ask yourself…”Do I ever feel like I am doing a lot but getting nothing done?” If you can answer that affirmatively then there is a good bet that you are probably investing your time in the right areas but the wrong things.
A general rule of thumb for the Pareto Principle is that 80% of the output comes from 20% of the input.
In other words, whatever you are doing, even if you are doing it poorly, if you are at least taking action in the 20% area, it will have a positive impact on the outcome.
So, in whatever you are involved, sit down and think about what are the 20% aspects that create the 80% of your results. Then look at how you can delegate, or reduce the time spent in the other areas. Imagine what it would be like if you could spend 80% of your time doing the 20% of the activity that creates 80% of the result (everyday)?
This approach leads you to a higher productivity state in whatever you are doing, but it also allows you to have more time freedom to be more fully involved in other areas of importance. You see if we are being ineffective with our time in a major area of our life, then we are robbing time from another important area. Over an extended period, the areas that are being neglected will begin to suffer to a point where we develop problems that then begin to rob time from the area we were spending too much time with in the first place!
Remember, that which we neglect, provided it’s important, will ultimately dominate us. Particularly in the areas of health, relationships, and career.
If you have a tip for time utilization please share it with our readers. I am only scraping the top of the iceberg here:-)